Representatives of the BHP-Mitsubishi Corp. Alliance Joint Venture (JV) said they remain in talks with employees at its Saraji mine over the losses to ensure “ongoing competitiveness and viability.”
The mine produces up to 8 million tons each year of coking coal, said the Anglo-Australian BHP. The nearby Norwich Park and Gregory mines have already been shuttered by BHP and Mitsubishi; both companies presently employ 10,000 workers in the coal-rich Bowen Basin.
Australia’s No. 2 mineral export after iron ore is facing uncertainty amid China’s drive to expand its rail haulage network, a development that could fuel domestic mining while offsetting imports. The mainland aims to expand rail capacity up to 40 million tons annually by 2022.
Current raw production capacity is estimated at 4.1 billion tons, according to analysts. Expansion plans, however, could add 860 million tons of capacity by 2015, industry forecasts show, leading to a long-term demand drop. China, the world’s most populous nation, uses more of the fuel than all other countries on the planet combined.